Note: This poem was published by an initiative of Commonwealth Writers, (one of the many prestigious places to get published as a writer) in April 2020.
The greying lull of winter’s night
breaks into a clamorous, glorious spring day,
windows filled with streaks of light
that catch and reflect the sun on painted white walls.
– only, it is not glorious anymore.
This pandemic has altered everything.
My partner works from home, staring at our bookshelf,
Tapping away on the keyboard,
creating between sudden bursts of epiphany.
The streets are empty, the shopping carts are rolled full by panic buyers;
the privileged complain of boredom and lack of social contact.
Some are shut in an emergency room, their lives upended by turmoil;
The callous ones party it out in beach-houses and sunlit bungalows.
Face masks become props for photo-ops,
the travel bugs lament about not being able to step out.
Some justify eating out at restaurants before going back home,
to their aging parents and grandparents.
The doctors stagger and agonize over many hours – awake,
sweating and cussing, to bring life back into the dying.
Children strut around confused;
their eyes filled with fear of the unknown,
and parents manically dab a clear liquid on their tiny hands,
rubbing them like it’s the end of the world.
On the other end, celebs clap on high-rise rooftops;
clanging vessels and banging drums.
‘Thanks, but where’s the equipment’, the doctors ask.
The government smiles, and flings out cash –
‘Now get to work’!
The homeless wait outside supermarkets;
intrigued by what they see.
The entitled and selfish worry about house-helps –
maids, drivers, and the food delivery troops.
We’re in a liminal space.
Trying to remember what was once normal,
aching to predict what would come up next.
My wayward heart prepares for it all –
Oscillating between a shred of hope
and a white sweaty bed of death.